Frankie lifting his leg to use the rooftop facilities at the Hotel Indigo, San Diego
A more agile Frankie lifting his leg to use the rooftop facilities at the Hotel Indigo, San Diego

I am just in from the backyard, where I took the second of the three pictures that accompany this post. I don’t usually take my camera along on these occasions, but I do spend a lot of time these days watching Frankie pee.

That’s in addition to collecting his urine, which I test for blood sugar twice a day before administering insulin. This involves following him around with a dish and waiting for him to do the deed.

Here I’m talking about the supervised bathroom sessions that Frankie gets because he has trouble finding his way back into the house.

I don’t mind. It gets me away from my computer. And it gives me time to ponder a strange physical phenomenon: The fact that Frankie now pees on his feet.

It’s Not a CCD Thing

Frankie often peed without lifting his leg in the past. He was a full-time squatter, in fact, before learning more manly urinating techniques from his late pal Archie. (Before you get too nostalgic, Clare, remember that was a one time deal; the next time they got together, Frankie completely ignored his former mentor.)

He’s taken to squatting full time again, and that’s understandable. As a geriatric, he’s bound to be less acrobatic. But whereas he formerly managed to avoid his pool of pee, now he is left standing in it.

I don’t understand why.

  • He still lowers his back end.
  • He doesn’t backtrack into the pool (well, sometimes he does, but by then, his feet are already wet)
  • It’s not as though there was a tectonic shift in my backyard, and Frankie now stands on flat ground where once he stood on an incline.
Frankie peeing on his feet (you can't yet see the full spread -- trust me)
Frankie peeing on his feet  (you can’t yet see the full spread of the puddle — trust me)


The Cleanliness Logistics

Luckily, the entryway into the house from the back now includes a carpeted ramp that serves as an extended door mat — which is a CCD thing. Frankie has no physical limitations that prevent him from navigating the single tall rise that leads into the kitchen from the utility room that adjoins the backyard, but he can no longer get his head around the whole climbing steps concept. I can’t get Frankie to wipe his paws — never could — but if he wishes to enter the kitchen, he has to ascend the cat (sorry, dog) walk.

And, yes, in case you’re wondering, I will soon replace the carpet with another $10 remnant.

But seriously folks, I don’t get the paw peeing phenomenon. Any theories?


Dog descending a grey carpet
Dog (soon-to-be) descending grey carpet


20 thoughts on “The Frankie Diaries, 9/18: The Physics of Dog Pee”

  1. I feel your pain. Unfortunately, I lost both of my boys within the last 14 months. One was 16 and the other was 13. I, also, noticed that mine were squatting to pee. I think it must be an age thing, most likely also caused by a little arthritis and balance issues due to age? Before my 16 year old poodle passed he had stopped even squatting and used to pee all over his chest. I hope this is just a temporary issue with your little doggie. Enjoy whatever precious time you have left with your little one. Some geriatric issues can be very frustrating. Hang in there!

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Bonnie. I can’t even imagine losing two in such quick succession.

      The thing that’s mysterious to me is that Frankie mostly squatted in the past so I can’t figure out why this squatting is different from his other squatting. I think the peeing on his feet is here to stay, and I can live with it — I hope it doesn’t progress to what you experienced with your poodle.

      Thanks very much for your good wishes.

  2. Just as you noted in your article, Edie, I think that the effort and pain required to keep all four paws high and dry is just not a priority anymore. My Aussie, Gavin, has always been a four on the floor squatter and has “run into” the same thing as his hips worsen with age.

    1. Interesting! I never thought of it in terms of hip pain because Frankie is quite agile and, to me, the squatting angle looks the same as it always has, i.e., a kind of German shepherd slope to the back end. But maybe I’m wrong…

      Thanks for coming by, Kevin.

    1. It is not bothering Frankie in the slightest. And, honestly, it’s not bothering me. I’m more puzzled by it than anything else — and it helps that I’m not obsessive (to put it mildly) about my housekeeping.

  3. Poor Frankie! Could it maybe be due to loss of muscle tone in his nether-regions. Has Frankie been doing his kegels? In all seriousness, in females that happens and they start to dribble. Perhaps the issue isn’t that Frankie’s feet have move or that your yard is tippy, I could just be that his pee just doesn’t go as far as it used to?

    1. Aha — maybe he has a weak stream! Thanks for that idea, Jodi. Now I can’t remember which ad that’s from — some prostate product. I’ll have to seek it out for Frankie (not).

      I’m glad that, with boy dogs, there’s no dribbling involved.

    1. Yes — as I just said to Jodi, it might be a weak stream issue! It seems we’ve all been watching too many pharmaceutical commercials on TV.

    1. I am surprised, Jan. You are my peer in contemplating weird dog issues. It’s a great compliment coming from you.

  4. Yep, I experienced the same thing with Archie, and I’m sure it was mostly a change in angle due to weaker knees and weaker stream. But here’s a tip: I found that when I clipped the hair around the Urine Point of Exit so that the stream touched nothing until it hit the ground, it came out a little straighter and less of it flowed toward the feet.

    1. Ah, good to have confirmation! As for clipping close to the UPE, however — not going to happen. Frankie will barely let me brush the hair on his back. It took me about half a dozen stealth tries to get rid of an aggregation of something that was directly dangling from the UPE.

  5. Has the amount of pee per time increased? Diabetes often causes increased intake and output, so perhaps his puddles are larger than before and with his changes, he can’t move out of the way quickly enough? You are making very good adjustments for him.

    1. Good questions, Roberta! But no, his diabetes has leveled off — as have his pee levels. Frankie never moved out of the way in the past, so there’s something about the puddle formation that has changed. Weak stream and weak(er) knees, as suggested by others, seem likely.

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